Ok, time to level with me.
Are you still absentmindedly clicking through indeed.com? Maybe LinkedIn or Glassdoor is your tool of choice? Is it because the work you do now isn’t fulfilling and you’ve finally come to the conclusion that “I need to make a change in my career”?
If you’re right on that edge of “something must be done” about this, you probably want to know what’s the most important thing I need to consider when making a career change?
Well, you’re in luck!
Why? Because we’ve asked hundreds of people who’ve made successful career pivots the same question after they’ve completed the journey:
What advice would you give someone who’s decided they want to make a career change?
What came back was surprising! It didn’t have anything to do with the best resume ever or the best tactic to market your skills or even the steps to take.
Nope! Instead, it turns out that all of them described making a career change as a journey and there are far more important advice to consider.
We’ve taken the advice from 6 successful career changers and put it into this article (below). You can also listen to all of it on the podcast here!
Michal: Executed a successful career change and start her own side photography business Rebecca: An attorney, who thought she might need to get out of law to be happy. Louise: Changed jobs 3 times thinking it would solve the problem, found what she wants in a completely different industry. Laura: Worked in Boston within sustainability. Then she had a baby and decided things needed to change. Dave: Started his own organization: Coaching for Leaders. Matt: Opened his own yoga business for men. Each of these powerhouse individuals shared their thoughts with us about figuring out what they want to do, tips and tools for enacting change, big picture ideas, and (of course) making a career change. After chatting with the group, we found three broader career change topics within the advice shared. What we’ve complied is essential advice for anyone looking to make a career change, no matter the stage of their journey. This advice is precious gold people, precious! Check it out:
LOVE YOURSELF (BUT IN WAYS THAT FUEL THE FIRE)
Did you know, people who focus on being happy are more successful than people who focus on being successful? It’s true; success isn’t the precursor to happiness.
Honing your daily routine to make yourself happy, boosts your ability to think creatively, to positively spin any bad interaction or mistake you make into a learning opportunity, and uncover new ways to solve issues at hand. All of which, are perfect for any work environment.
However, those superhero work skills don’t perform unless you’re happy. And if you’re not happy, you’re probably not taking care of yourself.
… what I loved about your course was the whole ‘master schedule’ idea. So, really looking down and saying what’s my schedule look like on a day to day, weekly, monthly, maybe even yearly basis and really figuring out, ok where am I losing time or where am I not being effective or where am I just sitting by myself thinking and analyzing and judging and blah, blah, blah. So that was really helpful to look at it and be like, ok cool, when I am going to be taking action and growing a business, am I still going to go to the gym? Am I still going to practice yoga? Am I still going to eat well? You know, you allocate time to all the things that keep the machine going, that keep, gas in the tank essentially…You need to take care of yourself. So, sleep, proper nutrition, lots of fruits and vegetables…the more that you can double down on, you know, your health and your wellness, the better. That will go back to the effectiveness and efficiency on how you run your business.Matt Toy
As the owner of a business that teaches men yoga, Matt takes care of himself. He exercises, sleeps well, and eats well. And he has to! His dedication to health and wellness is part of what makes his narrative credible for his business. But there’s a huge bonus there: the energy Matt puts into taking care of himself is energy he’s able to put right back into his business.
So, do you take care of your health? If not, that’s first on the checklist. Taking care of your body gives you more energy and makes you feel better about yourself. And when you feel better, you’re more likely to do better – in everything.
Now, let’s talk about another way you might not be loving yourself:
I would say, you have to take the pressure off yourself and it’s easier said than done sometimes but…we all put the pressure on ourselves. I think in a lot of situations, it’s not other people putting the pressure on us, it’s us putting the pressure on ourselves. So, take the pressure off……I’ve now realized, that for me, career can’t be everything.Louise McNee
How we think about and, talk to ourselves impacts our quality of life drastically. For instance, if we tell ourselves to expect perfection, or instant results, or a 0.01% error rate in our work, we feel horrible when we fail. And when we repeatedly fail at not being what we expect of ourselves, we begin to doubt everything we do and distrust our abilities. That leads into a depressing and self-limiting cycle of existence.
Living like that, isn’t healthy or happy. But, one way you can take some of pressure off yourself, is coming to terms with something Louise said: Career isn’t everything.
Making “career isn’t everything” manifest in your life, looks different person to person. However, people who don’t solely focus on career often spend their free-time engaging in a hobby, bonding with loved ones, or doing something they love while connecting with others.
Activities like the ones we just mentioned, recharge our batteries and spark happiness. They give our minds a break to connect dots and process. Meaning, you might have the “Eureka!” moment as to what you want your next job to be while you’re out hiking.
DON’T LOOK FOR A JOB; LOOK FOR HELP AND RELATIONSHIPS
Do you remember working in customer service during the holiday season when you needed that job in college? Yeah, we did that too…And experiences like that can easily make us believe that people are just the worst. But actually, people are great. And you need them to make your career change happen. Consider what Laura has to say:
…it took me a few months to look for outside help and that was the thing that I needed…particularly as someone who has been successful, it’s hard to admit to myself, it was hard for me to say I couldn’t do it by myself, you know, I’m a smart person, I should be able to figure this out. But, as soon as I, you know, had my first career coaching experience it turned around my approach to finding a new job and it completely gave me the power back and the tools that I needed to do it. So, I think, you know, if you know exactly what you want to do, then you probably aren’t listening to this podcast, but if you don’t, just know there are a lot of tools and resources and people out there who can help you.Laura Morrison
Laura speaks the truth, folks. It took her a moment of talking down her pride, but asking for help from others is what catapulted her into her career change journey.
It NEVERS hurts to ask and, in the midst of something like a career change, asking can get you pretty far. Listen to Rebecca:
…I say you owe it to yourself just to give it some time, see what you think…go try something…see what your options are. Or even go talk to somebody…reach out to someone, talk to friends, say, ‘hey, do you know anyone who does this sort of this thing? I think it’s interesting.’And, maybe meet up for coffee. Because a five minute conversation or even a fifteen minute conversation…saying, “Hi, I think what you do is amazing…I’m really curious what it means to do your job.’ I would say it’s worth it, it’s no pressure…and if it works out, that’s how most people find their jobs anyways.Rebecca Maddox
We can’t tell you how invaluable coffee conversations are! Rebecca is so spot on when she says, “…that’s how most people find their jobs…” Asking someone about their job, that genuinely interests you, shows the person you’re ambitious, dedicated, and hungry. Talking over coffee about their job also endears you to them. And bonds like that, can come back with project or job offers you might not have received otherwise.
… I would recommend… to keep on having conversations. Don’t have conversations because you’re looking for another job. Have conversations with people who are doing things that are interesting because you’re interested in it. And, that’s going to open a whole world to you that you don’t know about because you’re not having conversations…I’m still connecting…You know, even now, where I’m very happy with my current position…I’m still having conversations…because I don’t know what circumstance is going to change which is going to spark another move or another desire for a career change…the important part of having conversations, is that it enlightens you about the possibilities.Michal Balass
What Michal described is something everyone experiences sooner or later. If, in trying to change your career, you schmooze everyone, not much return is going to come back on your investment. But, if you chat with people who do things you want to know more about, your enthusiasm will be contagious. And, that will come back to bite you. In a good way.
DON’T LOSE SIGHT OF THE BIG PICTURE
…things do always work outMichal Balass
We can’t help but agree Michal. Despite the setbacks and obstacles that come with changing careers, if you see it through, things will indeed work out. We all need that reminder, because some weeks, we only remember how hard we fell and not how much progress we made since the start of our journey.
Nobody will ever say changing your career is easy but, just about everyone will say it’s worth it. Take, for example, what Dave Stachowiak says:
…I’m not sure how this is all going to work long term. Yes I’m struggling this week or this month…but I said I was going to do this, so I’m going to keep doing it.
…One of the NBA players said, being a professional is about doing the things you love to do on the days you don’t feel like doing it….there are many moments like that in all of our careers.Dave Stachowiak
Each of these sound bites from Dave are invaluable. Dave, who works with Dale Carnegie and stared his own organization and leadership academy, has even had doubts about his path. But, he told himself, keep going.
Dave also took inspiration from the NBA player, Julius Erving. Julius’s quote aptly reflects the amount of work and effort that goes into achieving a goal. Plus, it highlights importance of why meaningful work doesn’t sprout out of your fingertips after a week on the job.
Honing your abilities to create life-impacting, meaningful work can take decades. We’re serious; that’s how it should be. Learning to love yourself, asking for help, sincerely connecting with others, and honing in on the work you love, can take decades. Even Julius Erving recognized that which, is why he continued to work on his craft even when he didn’t feel it, to serve the bigger picture he had for himself. That all takes time.
Last but not least, we’ve got a few more golden nuggets from Rebecca we want you to read:
…Skills are transferable…And realize that there are those people in your life who say, ‘you get your job and you stick to it and that’s the one thing that you do’…that’s not the word we will live…it feels a little bit more like a game of chutes and ladders. So it’s a matter of where you shift. And ultimately, like, if people are telling you, “You’ve got the dream” but something doesn’t feel right, that’s fine. That’s fine. Trust that… Do the right thing.Rebecca Maddox
Rebecca’s words hit home for us. Our experiences to find meaningful careers hasn’t been a straight shot. It’s definitely been more of a zigzag, obstacle course.
Despite playing Chutes and Ladders with our career moves, we also acknowledge at HTYC, that skills are transferable. That’s empowering when starting a new career path because it means you don’t start from scratch. You rather, move sideways and start your new career on a comparable rung level to the rung on the ladder you just came from.
Also, and this is so important, do trust your gut. Not trusting yourself can result in dead-end jobs, unfulfilling careers, or worse.
In short, these are the pieces of advice that helped each of these successful career changers:
- Do the things that fuel you! Take care of yourself, physically and mentally, and focus on being happy to ensure that you’re putting in as much energy in as you put out. Otherwise, changing your career is going to fall flat, just like your energy level.
- Ask people for help and for conversations. At the end of the day, connecting with people is how you get a job. Just make sure you’re actively seeking folks to chat with who do something that interests you.
- Don’t forget the big picture. Don’t forget that things will take some time, and that you’ll have to work at it. But also remember, things will work out.
If you want even more help getting started figuring out the ideal career for you, join our free 8 Day Mini-Course to help you figure out the life and work you love or talk to our team about our coaching programs
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